The Middle Against the Both Sides

Posted on June 25, 2009


1984 is one of my favorite political books despite its bit of patronizing, dry delivery. And I believe the meaning might possibly change as I age, like Animal Farm which I had read times like (say, say, not without feeling cross-eyed, self-doubt). I felt a stale attraction at Orwell’s romanticism, in this case where he described the love scene between Winston and Julia, the scenery setting and all. Needed time to feel sure that it’s what inside the mind of people in 40s (mostly as a product of late 80s, dark ages, where music and fashion had been great then sucked and gone great again lol). Some examination on related history made it plausible. In 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein’s ‘Oligarchical Collectivism’ exposes this dystopian system of ‘corporate communism’ or capitalism and communism being mixed up. That makes me assumed 1984 as a fiction is neither a condemnation to communism nor capitalism failures.

1984-George Orwell, Animal Farm-George Orwell (design by Shepard Fairey), and Snowball’s Chance-John Reed

As it ages, it’s inevitable for such great idea not to face ideology clash, like what John Reed has done in his Snowball’s Chance (Orwell’s Animal Farm parody). I actually haven’t read the book yet, but I’m attracted to all the reviews. Having all the great ideas stolen by people from the past, ‘hard to be original’ is the best excuse. How we pleased with the cultural movements with all their authenticities that dwell on the past. Nowadays, you make a parody out of one remarkable work and there you go, strikingly win the big business pitch. This kind of work might be radical, and actual, but factual? Of course we don’t need that in fictional world *sways hand*. Reed gained so much praises by his interpretation towards Orwell’s work as a condemnation to ideology system which portrayed in Animal Farm.
Of Snowball’s Chance as a follow-up to Orwell’s work, Reed stated: “My intention is to blast Orwell, I’m really doing my best to annihilate him.”[1] (wikipedia).
But my my subjective opinion, Reed’s ‘annihilation’ is not enough to bring Orwell’s reputation in disgrace (Orwell’s ideology, wheter he’s a democratic socialist or whatever) because basically, a story comes in a form of imitation of the author’s experience and event (in this case: Orwell’s participation in the Civil War long before he wrote both Animal Farm, 1984, or Homage to Catalonia).

For the utopia that 19th century inherited you, don’t be surprise that in 21st century you only have a satire humor. The reason for me not to choose between the two is because my cheapskateness doesn’t have place anywhere. Undeniable that literature exchanges effects with civilization in all cultural territory: art and society. But it’s basic that society always cling on era, timeliness and certain events, thus we always look for a period of significant enjoyment, and develop it with the most actual things at the moment. They walk together on a path of revolution, either it has over or perpetual.


As I thought about literature that walks side by side with the quality of civilization, there had been this polemic in my country between the Lekra (socialist realism) and Manikebu (universal humanism). So impactful that it’s then produced many interpretants/audiences even more than the great names behind it, even wider than just the contrast between proletarians and bourgeouis. It was the era of communism, revolution, and its condemnation in my country. For me it’s like natural attraction for a cultural history that has contradiction rich of interpretation, where literature noticed as a beautiful, age-proof, timeless piece.

Sekitar Polemik Pramoedya-Lekra VS Manikebu-A.Kohar Ibrahim